Love that this was my hotel room key and only really noticed it this morning when having breakfast! So – I had to stay over in Newcastle unexpectedly due to all trains going South being cancelled. Such an interesting experience in being adaptable and resilient! That’s why I love this key. So – In this kind of scenario: hugely packed and overcrowded station with police in what seemed like full riot gear -we are talking about hundreds of people stranded at 6 pm in the evening and a hopeless bus replacement service only to York with too many people trying to use it – you need to think and act fast to minimise stress and figure out the best solution.
Your brain has to go through a process though and if you don’t manage this well, you can stay stuck in complaining (waste of energy), being upset – outraged even – another pointless waste of energy and blind hope: “if I stay in this queue I’ll get a place on that coach”. I saw many people around me do just these very things. For me though, within a very short space of time I realised I wasn’t going to make it home at all because I faced rail strikes at the other end and potentially would be stranded at Waterloo late at night. Also, I was in a long queue with no food or water – not good.
So I decide to stay and found a hotel (later I would discover that people were stranded and hotels full), made arrangements at home and for work next day and cheerfully set off to my hotel with my colleague, had a lovely dinner and an early night. And let it all go! The hotel were lovely, gave me a free breakfast voucher, and this morning I got on a train at 9am, got an upgrade to 1st class and an easy tube journey across London to Waterloo.
Am almost home! And happy! I used the unexpected time to slow down, choose gratitude and rest and the unexpected upgrade to work on a proposal and enjoy lovely coffee. The point is that you can use any situation to flex these skills and the more you do this the better you get at it. I used breathing and mindfulness to calm the brain’s natural stress responses and this freed up my brain to be resourceful quickly and make the right decisions. This is all part of critical thinking. Empathy and kindness to staff brought me in return their kindness and empathy in the form of upgrades and vouchers. Being proactive meant that I brought everything back into my locus of control very fast. And optimism! The ability to reframe situations and consider the language we use to describe them – I heard so many people talking about “disasters” and “nightmare” and using emotional reasoning to inform their actions and, sadly also, their behaviour.
When we flex the 7 skills we recognise that in any situation we have choices. The faster we can make those choices, the faster we bounce back. Yes, I was also upset and frustrated like all the hundreds of other passengers but the difference is that I know how to fall and I know how to roll and I know how to get back up – fast and with joy and grace.